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Power Bank SoCs

I ask a lot of stupid questions because usually they’re not stupid. Occasionally one is.

OK, maybe not outright stupid, but I certainly felt out of the loop. I was talking with Active-Semi about their new power bank management chips. But I tend to run my phones with minimal bells and whistles on. WiFi is typically off; GPS is often off. Bottom line: the charge on my phone can easily last a day, sometimes two.

So I hope I can be forgiven for not knowing in advance what a “power bank” was. I’ve never had a chance to need one. Apparently I’m not typical: Active-Semi’s Mark Cieri noted that it’s not unusual for smartphones to need a new charge after only 4 hours. Who knew… (Apparently everyone but me!)

Active-Semi has announced two new SoCs for managing these critters. As they describe it, the status quo requires separate components: a power path chip, a linear charger, a buck/boost regulator, and a microcontroller to manage it all.

Their solution is a single chip that integrates all of these capabilities together, including management and regulation. One version delivers 1 A; the other 2.1 A. The result: a noticeably (50%) smaller footprint.

Oh, and significantly less power draw: under 10 µA, vs. 45 – 100 µA for conventional circuits. So the manager won’t be siphoning off too much of the energy it’s supposed to be managing.

You can find out more in their announcement.

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